November 1, 2015

Making the Most of the Time

Happy November! It is so hard to believe that we are the end of the year. I know, there are two more just seems like we've made the turn into the final stretch, and that means that the end is in sight. I sit here this morning (sneezing my head off) as I consider how far I have come. I mean, it was just three years ago when I was sitting at my desk at CVS Caremark and learning how to do an analysts job. I also was preparing to take the GRE exam (November 10, 2012), and was feeling so apprehensive about the plans the Lord had for me, my life, etc.

At the same time, I was also at peace. I had found my niche, that place where I was happy in my work. I blogged about it, and I gave testimony to how much I relied on the Lord for His strength and His provision. He was and is guiding me forward, and one thing is for sure, my mission, the calling He placed on my life has not changed.

In fact, I wrote this on November 9, 2012:
I have been created to communicate God's Word through encouragement and the building up of the body. My role is to reach individuals and to help them see the value in studying God's Word, and to learn to trust in it. My entire life has been about one thing, and that one thing has been to encourage Christian's to grow up in Christ. This is all I know, and it is what I have spent the majority of my life doing -- being a builder of people -- and helping them understand just how amazing God is, and just how marvelous His Grace is to us.
Amazing testimony to God's plan for my life. I sit here and I think to myself, WOW! There is so much truth packed into that little gem. I had it all figured out, or so it seemed. I also was convinced that my path was to go through Regent University, and to complete my PhD for this expressed purpose -- to learn how to communicate God's love and His grace.

Now, I sit here today, November 1, 2015, and I marvel at the changes that have happened in my life. I mean, talk about radical change! Yes, in 2012, I was happily relieved to be free from the telephone nightmare of UOPX. I was so blessed to be in a beautiful environment, to be working in a corporate office that was quiet and structured toward individual productive work. I loved my office, my coworkers, and the job I did at CVS. I had high hopes for good success, advancement, and other opportunities (perhaps relocation), but none of that materialized because within a year, I had moved on to where I am today. I felt the pang of the hard burn as I watched some very poor decisions impact the work/life of a whole group of people. I felt the harshness of decision-making create a toxic environment, and as a result, I saw the ugly side of big business rear up. My hopes for a long career were dashed, and I walked away from that opportunity to go back to higher education. In some ways, I ran back to higher education, simply because I believed that I could not do the work God had planned for me while attending to a 40-50 hour job and work week.

As I think about the time between then and now, I am comforted by the fact that the Lord has covered me well. He has provided for my needs, financially. He has provided a secure safe home for me to live in. He has given me plenty of intellectual stimulation, and He has opened up multiple opportunities for growth and personal development. He has also shown me paths to take, given me choices to make, and allowed me to struggle (quite a bit) in order to learn how to make those good choices. He has brought me friendship, love and companionship, and most of all, He has created within me such a deep and sincere desire to serve Him and to serve others. I am not the same person I was in 2012, and for that, I am so thankful. I have grown as an individual, as a person, and now I am ready to embark on the next phase, the next portion of His blessed plan. I don't have all the details fleshed out yet, but if the future is anything like the past, then I can rest with assurance and KNOW that it will be good. Everything the Lord plans and intends to do in my life is GOOD.

It is November 1, 2015, and I have this very strange feeling, a deep sense of peace as if I finally found the thread that I have overlooked these past 10-12 months. As I read my blog from 2012, I give thanks to the Lord for His willingness and His encouragement toward me. You see, I write intensely personal things on this blog, and I put it all out there, for everyone to read. I don't shy away from difficult subjects or from feeling as though I am too strong or too weak. No, I say what is on my heart and my mind, and I work through the details with my words. This is how I work things out, how I figure out truth, and how I come to terms with the truth.

Many times, I have felt ashamed at what I have written, and especially when I read back to 2009-10, the black years of my marriage failure, I wince at some of my strong words. Yet, I know that this record of my life bears witness to God's faithfulness to me. You see, I can re-read these difficult posts, I can go back to days and months, when in truth, I really don't even recall anything special about them, and I can read about ordinary days filled with ordinary struggles. These struggles remind me of His faithfulness to me, and they remind me that my life is a work in process, just a work in process. I gave Him praise today, thanking Him really, for the privilege of writing this blog. I thanked Him for letting me, no encouraging me to write it all down, all my feelings, my worries, my fears and anxieties. In the end, my blog serves as an encouragement to me. It reminds me of His goodness, His faithfulness, and His constant presence in my life. It is such a good thing, such a good thing. Praise God! He is good!

Now, I am ready to go, ready to take the next steps. I am not certain what those next steps entail, but I believe they include completing my PhD (Praise God!) as well as transitioning into a full-time career opportunities. As of now, I am waiting to hear whether I will stay or go as far as teaching is concerned. I am content either way, and I have let this go (the worry, etc.) in order to embrace each possibility as the Lord provides. He knows what is best, He knows where we shall go, and He knows how my life will turn out (Praise God - He has read the end of my story!) I must let this be, let this go, and embrace "being" with Him today and tomorrow. I must practice "being" in His presence, "being" with Him, and "being" a part of His work. It doesn't matter whether I do this thing or that, it just matters that we do it together. Thus, whether I go or I stay, whether I do this work or that work, I am to do it all as part of His great plan, and through His great effort, provision, and protection. I can rest now, I can let go, and I can enjoy the ride.

Dear Heavenly Father,

As I let go today, I realize that you are firmly in control of the details of my life. I can do nothing without you, so I need not struggle to produce anything outside of your work. I need not worry about my job, my work/life balance, my bank account, etc., because these are materials things, and you have promised me wealth and prosperity in materials things (everything I need will be provided to me). I need not fret or be concerned about my next move, whether I stay in Phoenix or go elsewhere, because you have those details all worked out as well. In short, I can rest in all the details knowing that the Master Planner has arranged it all, and in arranging it all, He knows how to bring my life to pass, to its conclusion, to its end. I am blessed, so blessed, and I am thankful to know that you are in control of these details. I ask today to rest, to really and finally and completely rest from all my work. It is the blessed Sabbath, and I long to spend time with you, to worship you, to honor you, and to praise your Holy Name. May this day come to pass as you desire, and may this day bring you praise, honor, and glory as is due your merciful and marvelous Name. I ask this all in the matchless Name of Jesus, my Lord and my Savior, Amen!

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